Brief filed: 02/08/2017
Lee v. United States
United States Supreme Court; Case No. 16-327
Decision below 825 F.3d 311 (6th Cir. June 8, 2016).
Courts are improperly positioned to assess whether the decision to go to trial is rational. Rejecting a plea bargain is rational because it might lead to more favorable outcomes. The decision to invoke his right to trial grants a noncitizen defendant the chance to avoid deportation, and that chance in itself makes declining a plea bargain rational. "Funny things happen" at trial. Presuming that defense counsel will use strategy as a guise for incompetence offends the ethical standards defense attorneys are bound to uphold.
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Jeffrey T. Green and Lindsay N. Walter, Sidley Austin LLP, Washington, DC; Barbara E. Bergman, NACDL, Washington, DC; Sarah O'Rourke Schrup, Northwestern University Supreme Court Practicum, Chicago, IL.